Davis, CA Community Garden Policies
Status: In Effect
The Davis Community Gardens are sponsored by the City of Davis through the Parks & Community Services Department. The gardens are located on 5th Street between L Street and Pole Line Road. There are 113 garden plots; most are 18'x20’ although a few are half plots. The City provides the land, water, some facility maintenance and some administrative support.
The annual registration fee is $52 ($26.00 for half plots, when available). Registration fees are used to defray administrative and material costs, and are ordinarily not refundable. Non-residents of Davis are charged an extra fee, which is $6 for residents of the Davis school district (El Macero, Willowbank, Binning Tract, UCD campus, Cactus Corner, Barthel Trailer Park), and $12 for those outside the school district.
In addition to the annual fee, a cleaning deposit of $25 per plot is required ($12.50 for half plots). This deposit will be returned when the plot is vacated and left clear of weeds and debris. See "Deposit refunds" for details.
All garden registrations are renewed annually. Registration materials are mailed to current gardeners at the beginning of each year. If a plot is not registered by the due date, an attempt will be made to contact the gardener to get registration. However any plot not registered by the due date is subject to being made available to new gardeners.
Mid-year registrants: New gardeners registering after July 1st for fall and winter gardens pay the full deposit and half the annual fee, which covers the remainder of the current calendar year. (They must then re-register for the next year.)
Half plots may occasionally be available. All garden rules apply to half plots, including weed, path, and reassignment policies. They are charged half the normal fee and deposit.
The Community Gardens has a part-time paid Coordinator, whose duties include registration, garden inspection, policy enforcement, providing for maintenance of physical facilities, organization of work days and other types of ‘hands-on’ activities.
The Advisory Committee consists of volunteer gardeners, and meets quarterly to provide feedback to the Coordinator and to discuss policies, problems and plans for the gardens. Any gardener interested in attending a meeting or being on the Advisory Committee should contact the Coordinator for time and place.
Gardening in the Community Gardens is not exactly like gardening in your own backyard, because how you care for your plot impacts many neighbors. Hence we have policies on how and when certain things must be done.
Garden policies are reviewed and updated as necessary by the Coordinator with the assistance of the Advisory Committee. They are then reviewed and approved by the City Parks and Community Services Department.
Use and Care of Gardens
Gardens must be actively used for growing crops; and must be cared for throughout the year, including during the winter. Regular care includes watering/harvesting when necessary, and the prompt removal of weeds and spent crop plants. Plots that are not used or cared for will be reassigned.
Plots may not be used to grow crops for sale.
There is a limit of 1 plot per household (a few people have 2 due to past usage, but that is being phased out). Garden plots must be used by the gardeners to whom they are assigned. Plots may not be registered to someone “in name only” while a friend or relative actually uses the plot and does most or all of the work.
Garden tenancy is transferable, with the permission of the Coordinator, to members of your immediate family or household, or to someone who has been registered with you as a co-gardener in the plot. Except for these persons, you cannot transfer your plot to anyone when you leave.
All plots and adjacent paths must be maintained weed-free throughout the year. Plots in violation of this policy may be reassigned (see “policy enforcement” section). Please note that herbicides are not allowed (see “chemicals” section).
Paths and Boundaries
You may not extend your garden beyond its official defined boundary. The boundaries of each garden plot are marked by four corner posts. These posts should not be disturbed, nor used as fence posts or plant supports. Please report any missing or poor-condition corner posts to the Coordinator.
Paths must be kept clear, level, and free of all obstructions. This includes weeds and garden plants. The paths adjacent to each plot are the joint responsibility of the gardeners on both sides of the path. Gardeners on the north, west, and south borders of the gardens are responsible for maintaining a clear, walkable path at least 3 feet wide on the border.
Do not use boards, plywood or carpet for ‘mulch’ in the paths – they present a tripping danger to people. We are advised that individual gardeners can be held legally liable for any injuries on a path adjacent to their plot caused by poor path maintenance.
Your garden plants must not extend into or over the paths – plan for growth when planting near the edges of your garden, and when locating a trellis or fence near the garden edge. Any garden plant extending into a path may be trimmed, moved, or removed by the Coordinator without notice.
Tall Plants, Pest Plants
Please try to work with your neighbors when planting tall things such as sunflowers or bean trellises so you don’t shade the adjacent gardens.
Trees and large perennials (shrubs, cacti, etc) are not allowed, due to shading and root problems. Be very careful with other plants that are invasive and hard to eradicate. Examples are mints, berry vines, and morning glories. Don’t let them get away, or they may be considered weeds.
Pests and Diseases
Gardeners are encouraged to keep insects and other pests under control so they do not spread into other gardens (please see notes in “chemicals” section). It is also helpful if you dispose of diseased plants in a way that limits the spread of disease (such as hot composting or removal from the gardens area).
Many people (maybe your garden neighbors) have allergies and sensitivities to chemical herbicides and insecticides. Therefore:
No herbicides are allowed in the gardens under any circumstances. Persons using herbicides will be evicted. The convenience of using herbicides is not worth the risk of hazards to people, plants, and soil organisms. The use of "organic" herbicides is under review but is still prohibited pending the outcome of that review.
Chemical insecticides are strongly discouraged. Persistent or particularly harsh chemicals are not allowed (the definition of this is under review). Natural methods of pest control such as traps, companion planting, good plant and soil health, and parasitic or biological controls are encouraged. If you have any questions about what is allowed, contact the Coordinator.
Chemical fertilizers are discouraged. Natural fertilizers such as compost, composted manure, seaweed, fish emulsion, and cover crops provide a more balanced diet for the soil and a more favorable climate for the many organisms that make up healthy soil and disease-resistant plants.
Plant debris is best utilized by composting, digging it into the soil, or as a mulch. That which is not used must be placed in the area designated, on the West side of the gardens. That area is for plant debris only, no trash/rocks/wood/wire etc. Do not dump anything under the trees on the North edge.
Trash, especially plastic, should be picked up and disposed of promptly. Please take your trash home with you, since we have no trash pickup service. There is a small trash can in the central shed area; this is tended by volunteers so please don’t overload it with large or heavy items.
Hoses are provided. Hose shortages should be brought to the attention of the Coordinator. A water key must be used to turn faucets on and off, otherwise the faucet stems get damaged. Keys are the T - handled type "furnace key" (or some are 4-in-1 keys). Report defective faucets to the Coordinator.
Do not leave water turned on while you are not in the gardens. This has caused flooding in the past when people forget to return and turn it off. It can also inconvenience people needing to use the faucet while you are away. Any water that is left on unattended may be turned off.
Each row has a water shutoff valve on the south end by garden #13, under a round flagstone in the pathway. The main shutoff valve next to plot A13 shuts off the water to entire area. If there is an emergency such as a broken water line, turn off the water to that particular row; then contact the Coordinator, the City Public Works Department, or the Fire Department. If you call a City agency please also leave a message for the Coordinator so he knows that the problem has been dealt with.
We try to keep a few basic tools in the tool shed: shovel, rake, spading fork, wheelbarrow. Please return them promptly when you are through using them, especially if there are other gardeners who may want to use them. Report missing or broken tools to the Coordinator. Tools are used at the gardener's own risk.
Pets are not welcome unless they are on a leash and kept out of other people's gardens. Dogs that are repeat invaders should be identified as well as possible and reported to the Coordinator or to Animal Control.
Please do not block the roads. Do not park right next to the garden plots except to deliver or pick up heavy or awkward loads. Parking away from the edge of the gardens lessens the effect of pollutants and soil compaction. It also makes it easier for others to maneuver their vehicles.
All gardeners are encouraged to participate in the repair, maintenance and improvement of garden facilities and common areas for at least a few hours each year. Regular workdays are scheduled for such projects. If the workday times are inconvenient for you, please consider helping out in other ways. You can contact the Coordinator or one of the Advisory Committee members for suggestions.
Notices and Procedures
Notices of major significance (fee deadlines, etc.) will be mailed whenever possible. Notices to individual gardeners may be mailed to their address, attached to the clip on their plot marker post, or made by phone. General notices will be posted on the bulletin board in the center of the gardens - mailing these is not always possible due to time and money constraints, so please watch the bulletin board and the clip by your plot number.
Mailed notices go to the gardener’s last known address. Because mailed notices may include time-critical items such as registration or weed compliance deadlines, it is important to keep the Coordinator informed of any changes of address, phone, or e-mail address.
Leaving / Deposit refunds
If you decide to give up your plot, please contact the Coordinator so your garden can be reassigned quickly, before it gets weedy and run down. If you don't tell us, it takes 2 or 3 weeks to figure out that it is abandoned.
When you have cleared your plot, ask the Coordinator to inspect it and see if it is in "refundable condition", which means: no weeds, plants, stakes, wire, trash, etc. - except for crop plants (and their supporting structures) that are healthy and within their normal growing season (the Coordinator may require even these to be removed). If the plot is in refundable condition, the Coordinator will notify the City, who will issue you a refund check within about a month. Be sure the Coordinator has a valid forwarding address.
If the garden does not pass inspection, you will have 1 week to clean it up. If it is then still not in shape, the deposit is forfeited. You may appeal a non-refund decision to the Advisory Committee. Plots vacated due to eviction or abandonment are not eligible for a refund of the deposit.
Any garden that is apparently abandoned may be reassigned with 2 weeks notice. If you are unable to care for your plot for an extended period, please consider giving it up so that someone else can use it. In special circumstances, where illness, injury or other commitments will only be for a few months and have a known ending date, other arrangements may be made if approved by the Coordinator.
Vacationing gardeners are not exempt from weed and other maintenance rules, or compliance deadlines. It is wise to contact the Coordinator before you go on extended vacation so we know that you are not abandoning the plot.
The Coordinator is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the policies. Most things can be resolved in an informal manner, however experience has shown a need for a formal process to deal with some issues (weed policy enforcement, for example). The Coordinator will attempt to call or meet the gardener to discuss the problem.
If the Coordinator determines that a plot or its owner is in substantial violation of garden policies:
1. Written notice of the problem and a request for corrective action will be mailed.
2. If the problem remains unresolved 1 week after the written notice is sent, a 2-week deadline notice will be sent.
3. If the gardener does not comply within 2 weeks, he/she will be evicted.
Gardeners are encouraged to discuss the situation with the Coordinator at any time during this process. Special circumstances will always be taken into account and other arrangements may be made, at the discretion of the Coordinator. All final evictions are reviewed by the Advisory Committee and the Recreation Supervisor in charge of the gardens, and appeals may be made to the Board or the Supervisor.